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Epstein put all assets in trust funds 2 days before suicide

NEW York: Jeffrey Epstein signed a will just two days before he killed himself in jail, new court records show, opening a new legal front in what could be a long battle over the financier’s fortune.

Court papers filed last week in the US Virgin Islands list no details of beneficiaries, but valued the estate at more than $577 million, including more than $56 million in cash.

The existence of the will, first reported by the New York Post, raised new questions about Epstein’s final days inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

A man stands near a U.S. flag at half staff on Little St. James Island, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, a property owned by Jeffrey Epstein, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Tourists and locals alike are powering up boats to take a closer look at a place nicknamed “Pedophile Island’ that lies just off the southeast coast of St. Thomas. AP PHOTO

Epstein signed the document August 8. Less than 48 hours later, he was found dead in his cell, prompting an investigation that has cast a harsh light on staffing shortages at the Manhattan detention center.


Prosecutors on Monday moved to dismiss the indictment against Epstein, but have said they were considering charging others with facilitating his alleged abuse of dozens of girls.

The filing of the will, meanwhile, had been closely followed by lawyers representing women who claim they were sexually abused by Epstein when they were teenagers and recruited into his residences to provide him massages.

Several attorneys vowed to go after his assets even if the will had named beneficiaries, as Epstein’s death means there will be no trial on the criminal charges against him. One woman filed suit against the estate last week, claiming Epstein repeatedly raped her when she was a teenager.

“Give his entire estate to his victims. It is the only justice they can get,” one of those lawyers, Lisa Bloom, wrote in an email. “And they deserve it. And on behalf of the Epstein victims I represent, I intend to fight for it.”

Former federal prosecutor David Weinstein, who is now in private practice in Miami, but not involved in the Epstein case, said states and US territories have certain timeframes within which to make a claim against someone’s estate.

“There are certainly going to be a lot of lawyers involved,” Weinstein said. “It’s not going to be over any time soon.”

A hedge fund manager who hobnobbed with the rich and famous, Epstein owned a Caribbean island, homes in Paris and New York City, a New Mexico ranch and a fleet of high-priced cars.

AP

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Today’s Front Page December 13, 2019

Today’s Front Page December 13, 2019